Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the “permanent enjoyment of the people” on September 2, 1940. Since that day, thousands of people have flocked to the region to enjoy the views and stand in awe of the grandeur Gatlinburg and the National Park have to offer.
Fall is the most popular time of the year to view the foliage in Gatlinburg and the GSMNP because the once lush green trees transform into a mosaic of stunning color. As Gatlinburg’s mountain views change from blue-green to bright yellow, orange, and red, the mountains seem to come to life. Visitors can enjoy views of the fall colors in Gatlinburg from many different vantage points throughout the city, but here are some of the best leaf gazing spots.
Driving through the Smokies, or auto-touring, is one of the most popular ways to explore the National Park. The Park spans a vast 800 square miles, so make sure to fill up your tank before your excursion. If you’re unfamiliar with the motor trails, you can stop by the Surgarland Visitor Center before you hit the roads to pick up a self-guiding tour booklet. You can also pick up these booklets online!
Take a scenic drive through these motor trails to enjoy beautiful views of the fall leaves.
- Cades Cove Loop Road
- Newfound Gap Road
- Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
- Upper Tremont Road
- Cataloochee Valley
If you like to spend your time downtown, you can still see amazing views of the fall leaves. Downtown Gatlinburg has several great spots that will keep you in the thick of the action while still allowing you to enjoy unforgettable views! If you want to catch a once-in-a-lifetime view without ever leaving downtown Gatlinburg, come on by and visit these landmarks.
Some of the most breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains and the autumn colors can be seen at the height of the most popular hiking trails. Fall is a wonderful time of year to hike a trail and experience the beauty and allure of nature. The crisp autumn air, perfect weather, and stunning colors are enough to leave any park-goer breathless with wonder.
For an adventure in the Smokies, take your pick of these trails to see some of the best fall views.
*Clingman’s Dome and Newfound Gap have spectacular roadside views, so you don’t even have to leave your car if you visit these two destinations.
Beating the Crowds
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited park in the nation, which can lead to overcrowding during peak seasons like October. If you want a more peaceful leaf gazing experience, you can visit some off the beaten path destinations to escape the crowds. Make sure to visit these Gatlinburg treasures during the fall season for amazing views and smaller crowds!
- Foothills Parkway East or West
- Rich Mountain Road (Must be accessed through Cades Cove Loop)
October is leaf peeper heaven in Gatlinburg. Grab a vacation guide and a Great Smoky Mountains National Park trail guide to find your way to the best fall views in the area. What’s your favorite place to check out the fall views in Gatlinburg? Share it with us in the comments section, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter! We’d love to hear from you!